MOUNT PLEASANT, Pa. — A young man and woman, both 18 years old, were killed by a lightning strike during a thunderstorm Thursday in a park in Mount Pleasant.
The Westmoreland County Coroner's Office identified the victims as Brendan McGowan, of North Huntingdon, and Kaitlyn Rosensteel, of Donora. The agency said McGowan and Rosensteel had "injuries consistent with being struck by lightning."
McGowan just graduated from Greensburg Central Catholic High School, the school's principal confirmed Friday. Rosensteel transferred out of the school at the end of her sophomore year.
Rosensteel, who was called "Moe" by friends and family, went on to Ringgold High School and graduated this year, Ringgold School District officials said. She played soccer and had signed to play for West Virginia Wesleyan College.
Ringgold High School Principal Jason Minniti released the following statement:
"We extend our condolences to the Rosensteel family. Our thoughts, prayers, and support are with them. This tragic loss reminds us how precious, and sometimes fleeting, life can be. It also reminds us of the importance of reaching out to one another to offer strength, comfort and support."
McGowan was the second baseman for Greensburg Central Catholic’s baseball team. He was also a member of the National Honor Society and planned to attend the University of Pittsburgh.
“Beyond all of his awards, activities and accolades, he was a genuinely good person. He carried himself with a quiet confidence that made him a respected centurion,” Althof said of McGowan.
A report from the coroner's office said witnesses heard a loud crack and saw a large flash of light in the area where the two were fishing. The agency said witnesses found the splintered tree and the two people below it.
McGowan and Rosensteel were pronounced dead at the scene.
Emergency dispatchers said the lightning strike happened about 4 p.m. at Mammoth Park. Authorities said McGowan and Rosensteel were on a small island in the middle of the lake when the storm blew through.
The coroner's office said an autopsy will be performed on both people.
Cox Media Group